Once the Los Angeles Lakers were clearly struggling with little hope of turning things around this season, the talk in turned to whether the storied franchise would consider trading superstar Kobe Bryant.
Rumors of a trade to ship Kobe elsewhere were quickly shot down by everyone in the organization, but as frustration builds during another disappointing season, it is a topic has continues to be brought.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne recently sat down with Jim and Jeanie Buss to talk about all things Lakers. Shelburne asked them if there’s a chance that Kobe might be moved:
Jim: No. I love Kobe Bryant. I think L.A. loves Kobe Bryant. I don’t envision him going anywhere. I don’t see it.
Jeanie: I don’t want to see Kobe Bryant leave. But we understand the realities of the sports world. Take Shaq, for example. He was traded and played for several other teams. But once he retired, he asked us to retire his jersey. He wanted to be remembered as a Laker. So while I get attached, I know what the realities are in this business. It’s never going to change what we’ve accomplished together. But I don’t look forward to the day that Kobe Bryant’s not in purple and gold.
As expected, the team still has no intention to trade the face of the franchise as he approaches the end of his career. Bryant has one more year on his deal after this season with the team set to pay him $25 million in what will likely be his farewell season.
Although Kobe has been highly criticized for shot selection and a career-low shooting percentage (39 percent), the five-time NBA champion continues to lead the league in scoring at 25.5 points per game.
At 36 and coming off consecutive season-ending injuries, Kobe is playing better than expected. Unfortunately, the team continues to struggle regardless.
Bryant might not have a championship sendoff in his final season, but the Lakers organization continues to still by their star player.
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